The iconic motorcycle ridden by Steve McQueen in classic war film The Great Escape is in London for the first time to launch the 75th anniversary of the Second World War operation.
Dan Snow takes to the Triumph TR6 motorcycle, made famous by legendary actor Steve McQueen, outside the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith alongside ‘Great Escape’ veteran Air Commodore Charles Clarke OBE and Britain’s Got Talent’s The D-Day Darlings. Renowned historian Paul Beaver will be there to answer the specialist questions.
On Sunday 24 March 2019 the RAF’s leading welfare charity will present ‘The Great Escape with Dan Snow’, live from the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, commemorating the iconic escape – 75 years to the day. Streaming live to hundreds of UK cinemas, Dan will reflect on how the iconic escape led to the making of one of the world’s most famous war movies – followed by a 4K screening of the 1963 classic film at the Eventim Apollo and at cinemas nationwide.
Seventy-six Allied airmen escaped – many of whom were members of the Royal Air Force – before the alarm was raised. Fifty of those later captured were executed.
The mass breakout from the high-security prison camp run by the Luftwaffe is significant for the sheer impact it had on the Nazi leadership and the way in which it embodied the will of Allied prisoners of war to resist Hitler’s tyranny.
The commemorative evening will feature The D-Day Darlings, special guests, and a rare appearance of the original motorcycle ridden by Steve McQueen in that dramatic fence-jump scene.
The motorcycle is owned by Triumph enthusiast Dick Shepherd who, after spending years tracking down this piece of international cinema history, found the TR6 in disrepair on a farm in Norfolk.
The show will feature Britain’s Got Talent finalists performing classics such as The White Cliffs of Dover, Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree and a specially created arrangement of the film’s iconic theme tune.
Dan will hear from veterans of the escape and will explore the history and science behind the operation with renowned historian Paul Beaver and Dr Hugh Hunt of the University of Cambridge.
The film, based on the book by Paul Brickhill, also stars James Garner and Richard Attenborough. Directed by John Sturges, the film tells a fictionalised version of the real-life prisoner-of-war story.
The first half of the evening will be simulcast to cinemas across the UK, followed by a nationwide screening of The Great Escape in stunning 4K.
At the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith the film will be shown on a huge 40ft screen.
This anniversary event is presented by the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, the Royal Air Force’s leading welfare charity, as part of commemorations marking its centenary year.